Pubs in Ireland are much more than drinking holes. These establishments are a place where you see friends and family, a low-key spot to spend the night enjoying yourself - a home, for some regulars, away from home.
And while an ideal St. Patrick's Day certainly includes Guinness and Jameson, festivities extend far beyond alcohol. So if you're looking for a good corned beef sandwich or a hearty potato soup to complement that draft beer, here are 10 St. Louis restaurants that will share the luck of the Irish.
Helen Fitzgerald's: This Syberg's spinoff in Sunset Hills is the place to be for an Irish-American bash. The restaurant specializes in standard bar and pub dishes as well as Irish signatures such as corned beef and cabbage, Guinness beef stew and fish and chips. But if you're looking for a great time, flowing drinks and Syberg's signature hot wings under a canopy of four-leaf clover decorations, this is the place to be. This bar and grill has enough pub favorites to please any hungry and thirsty patron and plenty of St. Patty's specials to keep your celebration going through the weekend. 314.984.0026, helenfitzgeralds.com
The Pat Connolly Tavern: The beloved bar known to many in Dogtown as Pat's Bar and Grill has a new name - and is back under the ownership of the family who originally opened the place back in the 1940s. That means a pared-down menu of classic pub fare, as well as a roster of brews with connections to either St. Louis or Ireland. Unusual among the city's Irish bars, it also has an impressive list of classic cocktails; new owner Joe Jovanovich (grandson of the eponymous Pat) discovered the bar's original drink menu in his mother's attic and based the current list off it nearly word for word. 314.647.7287, patconnollytavern.com
John D. McGurk's: McGurk's is more a St. Louis mainstay than an Irish one (it was founded in Soulard in 1978), but feels like it belongs on another continent in a more fun time. An eclectic mix of Irish music, extensive food-and-drink offerings, a vast layout that includes plenty of cozy nooks and a genuine up-for-anything vibe have made this bar a local favorite. Musical guests from Ireland sometimes even fly out to perform here, while the giant outdoor garden makes McGurk's the place to party on warm days. A menu featuring pub favorites and American standards is available, so there's something here for both a family dinner and a raucous night out with friends. mcgurks.com
O'Leary's: If you're out looking for some hearty Irish chow, look no further than O'Leary's Irish stew, a mix of beef, celery, carrots, potatoes and Guinness. The pub's potato soup, topped with Cheddar and bacon, is another made-from-scratch option. A number of American favorites are served alongside these Irish staples. Just make sure to come thirsty, as well - this Sunset Hills County bar offers drink specials every day of the week. 314.842.7678, olearysrestaurant.com
Seamus McDaniel's: Dogtown is a proud and strong Irish-American community, and Seamus McDaniel's is a key part of that culture. Through its community involvement, this bar has been at the forefront of keeping tradition alive in the area since the '90s - the owners have even served as grand marshals of the Dogtown St. Patrick's Day festivities in the past. The restaurant usually has plenty of specials the day of the parade, so there's no excuse not to stop by. Grab a pint of the bar's house-brand Irish ale while you're at it. 314.645.6337, seamusmcdaniels.com
O'Shay's Pub: If you find yourself in The Grove and fancy some Irish flavor, the staff at O'Shay's would be happy to accommodate. The restaurant's casual approach to traditional dining features dishes such as corned beef tacos, the Drunken Chicken Sandwich and the McManus Burger, a -pound patty topped with barbecue sauce, Cheddar, onion rings and bacon. The bar's extensive selection of Scotch, whiskey and beer will take the edge off while the fun sports-bar vibe keeps the party going even after dinner service ends. 314.932.5232, oshayspub.com
Llywelyn's Pub: Just about everybody in the St. Louis area has a Llywelyn's Pub near them. With seven area locations across the metro area, the restaurant is a popular drinking hole. But it also serves an extensive selection of Irish-Welsh dishes. Pub Curry, with a mix of vegetables, shrimp and rice doused in yellow curry, is a Celtic treat. The menu also features some classic Irish ingredients served nontraditionally, like the Irish Breakfast Sandwich or Guinness-braised steak flatbread. Whatever you're craving, there's a location right around the corner to help make your dream a reality. 314.962.1515, llywelynspub.com
Flannery's: A variety of Dublin pub offerings and a traditional feel make this Downtown St. Louis bar feel like a classic. Staple dishes include traditional Irish beef stew, corned beef hash, a Reuben sandwich, Guinness-infused shepherd's pie and even Irish nachos: thick-sliced potatoes topped with Cheddar, onions and jalapeos toasted in a skillet and served hot with sour cream. The restaurant is also home to what might be the city's greatest mashup of authentic Irish fare with a St. Louis staple - the Irish slinger features mashed potatoes and corned beef topped with eggs, chili, cheese and onion. Flannery's is a go-to for the sports-watching crowd, but it's also a great spot to catch live music every Wednesday. 314.241.8885, flanneryspub.com
Tigín Irish Pub: The Gaelic name says a lot even before you set foot inside this Downtown St. Louis bar. What roughly translates to "small cottage" accurately describes the vibe that Tigín has created for customers. It's not quite a house in the traditional sense - no warm beds are on offer - but we'll settle for servings of corned beef and cabbage and blackened chicken and shrimp boxty (a savory potato pancake associated with rural Ireland). And since many menu items here are made with Guinness, including the barbecue sauce, mayo, Cheddar bread and ice cream, you're not going to find a more festive setting unless you fly overseas. 314.241.8666, tiginirishpub.com/stl
Molly Darcys: Located in the Seven Gables Inn, this pub traces its heritage back to a town in southwest Ireland called Killarney. The original Molly Darcys opened there more than 10 years ago, with this second location in the heart of Clayton following in September 2008. The restaurant serves authentic Irish dishes like lamb stew and pot pie. The quaint and welcoming atmosphere at Molly Darcys provides all the more reason to stop in and stay awhile. 314.863.8400, mollydarcyspub.com
Written by Alex Wilking. Photo of Llywelyn's Pub courtesy Llywelyn's Pub and photo of John D. McGurk's by J. Pollack Photography. This article appears courtesy of Feast Magazine. Feast Magazine is dedicated to broadening the conversation about food and engaging a large, hungry audience of food lovers.